RED WING -- Change, good and bad, is inevitable. In a city that is home to over 16,000 residents there is always change occurring or waiting in the wings. The most recent changes can be found in the government offices where individuals with decades of experience are retiring.

Three individuals who recently retired are Dennis Cordes, Bob Stark and Ron Rosenthal.

Dennis Cordes

Cordes worked for the city for 33 years. Communications coordinator Kate Berg wrote of Cordes in a short bio: “despite the profession running in his family, Cordes didn’t want to be a farmer. Originally from Wisconsin, (Cordes) put down roots in Red Wing when he got his first job with the city as an operator at the waste campus.”

When the incinerator closed in 2013, Cordes transitioned to working as a mechanic in Public Works.

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“The work is different every day. I get to work with a bunch of good guys and it’s a good job, as long as you aren’t afraid to get dirty,” Cordes told Berg.

In retirement, Cordes said he has numerous plans, including watching the Public Works crews drive by while doing their jobs.

Public Works Director Rick Moskwa said of Cordes and his time with the city, “Dennis had multiple maintenance skills and has served the department well. Dennis’s replacement has been hired, the mechanic shop services all vehicles in the city fleet requiring multiple mechanics.”

Bob Stark

Bob Stark worked as Red Wing's deputy director of utilities for 12 years. Photo submitted by the city of Red Wing.
Bob Stark worked as Red Wing's deputy director of utilities for 12 years. Photo submitted by the city of Red Wing.


“If anyone knows about going with the flow, it’s Bob Stark,” Berg told the Republican Eagle.

Stark, who has been with the city for 12 years, was the deputy director of utilities and oversaw the city’s wastewater and water plant. Stark was a consultant for the city before he was hired as deputy director.

“Bob accomplished many projects throughout the system,” said Moskwa. “His strong construction management skills will be missed and Bob was an integral member of the Public Works management team. Bob’s replacement is Jerry Plein, he has been in Public Works for 28 years serving in roles in streets, water and wastewater, most recently as superintendent of public services.”

Stark said he doesn’t plan to stop spending time around water in retirement. Only now the focus will be recreational.

Ron Rosenthal

Ron Rosenthal worked as an engineer in the city of Red Wing for 40 years. Photo submitted by the city of Red Wing.
Ron Rosenthal worked as an engineer in the city of Red Wing for 40 years. Photo submitted by the city of Red Wing.

Rosenthal began working for the city 40 years ago when his starting pay was $5.55 an hour. He entered in the position of “engineering tech 1” and is retiring as the director of engineering.

According to Berg, one of the best parts of the job for Rosenthal was seeing projects evolve from start to finish.

“From concept design to filing the plans after project completion, watching projects come together was an extremely rewarding part of his job,” Berg wrote of Rosenthal.

City Engineer Jay Owens was promoted to engineering director with Rosenthal’s retirement. Owens worked with Rosenthal in the engineering department for nearly 29 years.

In 2017 Rosenthal was awarded the Service Above Self Rotary Award. Owens said of Rosenthal at the award ceremony:

“He truly cares about the city and does what it takes to lead us in the right direction. He cares about the people he works with, he cares about the projects he leads and he cares and listens to those impacted from the decisions we make. Next to my dad, Ron is the best mentor I have ever had in my life and I am so thankful that we have developed a close relationship over the years – I consider Ron a true friend.”